Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Women's Softball Season Well Underway; So Is Tornado Season

With the coming of the women’s college softball season, we are once again eating meals at times downstairs in Gerald’s office while we follow games on Game Tracker on his computer.

We were excited about Gerry, Vickie, and Geri Ann, who were flying out for the Cathedral Classic in California. Of course, their daughter Tara Archibald, who is an assistant coach, was there also, so Gerald enjoyed imagining all the fun and excitement that Tara’s husband Bryan was having back home in Watkinsville taking care of three sons under six years old. Bryan is a family hero.

University of Georgia went to the Cathedral Classic ranked thirteen in the national polls; and after a 4-1 record there, the Bulldogs were declared number seven this week. They defeated Arizona, Cal State Fullerton, UCLA, and Oklahoma but lost to Washington. Winning over those kinds of teams will take away the worries that UGA’s losing eight great seniors were going to be known as a rebuilding team this year. Last year’s seniors—Jennie Auger, Brianna Hesson, Alisa Goler, Sarah McCloud, Katie Murphy, Taylor Schlopy, Laura Trout, and Megan Wiggins—were certainly a great loss, but this year’s young team is also obviously capable of great ball playing. It is going to be a good season.

Erin with Southern Illinois University Carbondale was down in Disney Land in Florida at the Citrus Classic last weekend, and we understood they were to have one game televised on ESPS 3 online. I had to be in town at that time, and we assumed we would not be able to get the streaming on our slow-speed reception. In Central Illinois, however, Mary Ellen watched both Erin’s game and also the University of Georgia’s game and was delighted with both wins. Sheri Beasley, who lives in our community but yet several miles from us, told me at Center’s pot luck on Sunday that their reception was great. SIUC had lost their first game that morning to undefeated Florida State (13-0) by 2-0, but then they run-ruled Marshall 10-2. On Sunday they beat St. John’s 4-3.

So our SIUC team is opening their first home games this weekend feeling good. The Coach B Classic (in honor of former Coach Kay Brechtelsbauer) will start games at 10 Saturday morning at Charlotte West Stadium. SIUC plays Western Illinois at 12 noon and then Wright State at 4 pm. They play Northern Illinois at 1 p.m. Sunday and SIU Edwardsville at 5.

Because of Sam’s participation in the pit orchestra for West Side Story at the Marion Civic Center on Friday and Saturday, cousins are coming downstate and will be at Woodsong on Saturday night. So I am not sure how much of the Coach B Classic we can attend.

I started this blog yesterday, but so much has happened since that I was not sure if I should finish it or not. I have just added to the title.

In late afternoon we learned that Gerald’s brother Garry had passed out and was being taken by ambulance to Southeastern Missouri Hospital at Cape Girardeau. This is doubly traumatic because his wife Ginger has suffered short term memory loss since December 2001 because of a stroke and Garry supervises her care. Last evening was filled with communication about all this with the final phone call being from our niece Vicki after l0. She had brought her mother back to their farm and given her the night’s meds and gave me the latest report on Garry although they still knew very little.

The next phone call we received was from Vicki this morning at twenty till five. We were sleeping soundly despite the raging storm outside. She was watching a tornado on television moving through and it looked like we were in its path. Almost immediately after her all call, our REA electricity went off. With a flashlight, Gerald went to his truck in the garage and learned the tornado had touched down near Creal Springs, a village just barely south of us and was headed to Harrisburg east of us. By then it was 5, which is when Gerald usually gets up, so he made arrangements to meet his brother Keith for breakfast since there would be no coffee at our house. They had already planned last night to head to Cape to see Garry.

Without television or radio, it was not until I went to town later that I found out that Marion was also without electricity. We learned three people had been killed in Harrisburg. Marion schools were called off. Electricity was soon back in Marion, however, and Sam and I had a good breakfast together at Cracker Barrel where we saw our niece Marla and husband with their grandson Michael. Mary Ellen had read on Facebook about a neighbor just south of us who heard the tornado go over their house, so she called to see if we were all right. By the time I got back to the farm, our lights were burning also.

Going down to the computer to check on Facebook what all had happened, I learned the death toll in Harrisburg had risen to l0. Writer friends were worrying about novelist Lois Barrett, who lives there.

Then I learned that our very special friends Bill and Mickey Tweedy, who live in a lovely house they built on a scenic spot on his home place high in the Alto Pass hills in Union County, had been hit by the tornado. Bill’s daughter Glenna down in Georgia reported this and asked for prayers. They had to run from their bedroom as it collapsed around them. They also lost two barns. This too was doubly bad because Bill has just had surgery on his back since the two surgeries he had a couple years ago were not successful. Although this doctor was not ready to order physical therapy yet, he already had Bill walking two miles a day and we were so happy for this success. I hope and pray that the running did not hurt his back in any way.

I phoned Gerald at the hospital to report yet another traumatic event.
I received calls from my brother Jim up in Mattoon after Vivian’s sister in Vienna had phoned them with the tornado news. Next my sister Rosemary down in Amarillo and my cousin Ken in California phoned after they heard about Harrisburg on the national news. I was grateful to be able to tell them we were just fine, but I felt bad knowing so many families right now are not.

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